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“In the dark times
Will there be singing?
There will be singing
Of the dark times.”
~Bertolt Brecht, Svendborg Poems (1939)

As we navigate through the greys of this Toronto winter, I reflect on the profound challenges of this moment. In times of global conflict and uncertainty, it is easy to feel enveloped by what Brecht called the dark times.

Writing from exile in Denmark en route to the US, Brecht’s poems from Svendborg continue to resonate today. In the heart of metaphorical winter and amid ongoing global conflicts, we are reminded of the fragility and preciousness of human connection and understanding. Across the arts and design, in all their myriad forms, can serve to remind us of our shared humanity, transcending borders and barriers.

At the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD), we are deeply committed to nurturing this transformative power of the arts. Our community of artists, scholars, and designers continues to explore and expand the boundaries of expression and collaboration. Behind all of our students’ works, there is a story of perseverance and determination.

In the midst of winter, yet on the cusp of Black History Month and the Lunar New Year, this edition of our newsletter is a celebration of our vibrant community. I am again pleased to share stories of our triumphs and achievements, of the faculty, staff, students and alumni who are boldly sharing their ideas, images and technique in the world. Each story is a reminder that even in the most challenging of times, we are buoyed by our collective creativity and collaboration.

I am also pleased to recognize the partnerships and collaborations that amplify our impact beyond the campus. These alliances are crucial in our mission to make art an accessible and inclusive experience for all. They enable us to reach wider audiences, engage in meaningful conversations, and participate in global movements that advocate for change and understanding.

As we look ahead, I am continually inspired and delighted by the accomplishments and commitments of our students. They are undaunted in their pursuits and I have no doubt will be successful long after they have left our University. Thank you very much for reading and I wish you all the best in this winter as we move toward the inevitable spring that will one day come.

With warm regards,
Sarah Bay-Cheng
Dean, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design York University


Legacy Giving…to create brighter futures!

Deborah Spicer (BA’74), a former journalist, fondly remembers her time as a Theatre and English student at York University. Like many, Deborah was the first in her family to attend university and, for her, it was an experience like no other. From traveling abroad for a theatre tour in London, England, to volunteering for student clubs, Deborah did it all.

When writing her Will, Deborah decided she wanted to give back by leaving a future legacy gift towards student awards. She hopes future students will receive the same opportunities she did, without any barriers to access. In Deborah’s words, “My bequest to York University is an expression of gratitude for the doors that York opened for me.” We invite you to read Deborah’s full story .

Many York alumni and donors include a legacy gift in their Will to support AMPD.  These special gifts allow you to invest in AMPD’s future students while preserving wealth for yourself, your loved ones while taking care of your immediate and future needs.

If you may be interested in learning more about this way of giving to support AMPD, or if you’d like to share your York story, please let us know. I’d be happy to set up a quick 20-minute phone conversation with you, at your convenience. To begin creating your York AMPD legacy, get in touch with us for a confidential discussion to explore your options. We are here to help you set up a gift in the most meaningful, tax-efficient way. Informing us of your intentions helps ensure that we will be able to accept and use your gift according to your wishes. Your generosity will be celebrated and recognized today since you will be welcomed as a special member of York’s White Rose Legacy Circle.

As always, our most sincere thanks for your support. If you have any questions about giving to AMPD, please contact Len Milley at or 647-285-5712.

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Len Milley

Len Milley
Associate Director, Advancement

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